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RedzNZJourney: A Solo Kayaking Journey Around the 5000km of New Zealand

06/26/2015 04:32 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2016

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What am I attempting?

To be the first female to paddle the entire coastline of New Zealand in a Kayak.

Start Monday 26th October from Takapuna Beach, Auckland.
Paddle 30km per day
Finish 180 days later

The daily plan

20km before lunch, then back on the water to paddle 20km in the afternoon. Some days I will be able to surpass this target, while other days it could be more of a challenge due to weather. But if I average 30km of paddling on the water each day, the journey should take 180 days.

What is RedNZJourney ?

It is my inner desire to paddle around New Zealand. I'm not talking about a small part, a bay or a couple of the coastlines at a time. I want to conquer the entire New Zealand coastline. I have dreamt of doing this all my life. When I share this dream with others their normal response is
"ARE YOU MAD?"

My name is Lynn Paterson and I am known as "Red" and it is my Journey aorund NZ. So it is a solo Kayaking Journey around the coastline of NZ (5000kms +) to become one of the few to complete this challenge.

It is a bucket list dream with a cause in mind to raise awareness for the families and supporters of people suffering from depression. The supporters, of people suffering from depression, go through such a solo journey.

There is very little understanding of how alone you are and how strong you have to be, when looking after family members with depression. We the supporters often get over looked as the focus is on the sufferer.

What drove you to set yourself this audacous goal ?

I actually admired and wanted to originally cycle the length of New Zealand, but thought about this and decided there were too many hills.

I have a passion for the sea and find it calming and therapeutic so decided to combine the two and came up with the idea to kayak instead.

Every time I mentioned my idea to people, they told me I was crazy to even consider doing such a thing. They thought it was dangerous and pure madness. This however made me more determined to take on the challenge.

I also truly believe that by being physical in our daily lives and striving for goals everyday, helps give us focus and also does great things for our brains which all help when battling with depression and helping heal.

The goals do not have to be of any particular measure, as long as they are important or mean something to the individual. Goals can also be broken down into parts/steps or segments. Something momentous can be achieved when broken into manageable steps hence my challenge.

How are you mentally and physically preparing yourself for your journey ?

I have a very vigorous training schedule, which I have built up to over the last 18 months. It consists of weight training, large amounts of endurance and also intense cardio work such as swimming, running and of course some long paddling sessions.

It involves very early mornings 6 days a week and a lot of planning and preparation. With training gear, clothes, equipment and also preplanning of food and preparation. Mentally it's an hourly and daily internal conversation with myself. Sometimes it's hard.

But it only comes from within. There is truly only one person that can drive me and that's myself. I focus on the day of departing on this NZ journey and the day that I arrive back.

What do you think about when you are out on the water paddling for hours?

I think about how amazing it is to be out there. I think about the incredible coastline that surrounds our country. I look at the horizon and focus on the task at hand. The sounds of the water, birds and my paddle help clear my mind for the day.

I am in the moment and away from distractions. I don't concern myself with any worries or what may be going on in life. It's my meditation. I sometimes will contemplate; other times I zone out and just paddle a couple of km and just enjoy the wind in my face and the elements of nature as it is awakening.

There is something very special about being on the water when the sun rises... it is a time to take a deep breath in and savour the moment and actually appreciate your life and what you have. Well it is like that for me.

What do you want to achieve for yourself and the world by achieving this goal?

I am a driven and sometime radical person and it's never been enough to just complete a marathon, skydive or swim a couple of ocean swims.

I have always wanted to do more and have admired adventurers of their conquest and achievements. The Bear Grylls, Richard Branson, Round the World Yacht Racers and Antarctic explorers all rock my world. I have huge respect for them.

I don't want to be the person that just admires, I want to achieve, push boundaries and be an adventurer myself. Tell me anything I can't do and I will do it. I don't actually think that what I am setting out to do is that extraordinary. When its something so personal, I don't spend too much time thinking about how this will affect the world. I am an extremely humble person on my own journey. If I can help bring awareness to the plight of what supporters of depression suffers go through or inspire people to help themselves and ask for help then my journey has more reason and purpose.

I believe that, everything is about the effort. If something comes to easily to you, don't trust it. If there is blood, sweat and tears involved, trust it.

At the end of every training session I have a buddy I txt/email and say "DONE"... and then I can smile at all the challenges that life then throws at me with this inner peace as I have Done and achieved already in the day more than most.

Who are your heroines / heros ?

My true hero's in this world, are the athletes/sports people that are physically and mentally challenged, who have an actual reason to complain or not perform, but go out there everyday and just do it.

They are my hero's and inspiration and their achievement s are humbling. Athletes with physical and mental disabilities have already proven they have the mental and physical toughness to face challenges. Everything we do in life is about our mindset and how we feel and think about ourselves.

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"For many years I have been drawn to the stunning coastlines of New Zealand. I find them calming, even on a stormy day. They make me feel at ease as if they could wash any of my worries away." - Lynn Paterson

Follow RedZNZJourney - www.redznzjourney.com

Adventurer about to paddle around New Zealand #RedZNZ #GirlGrylls